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home : sports : sports Friday, June 24, 2016

10/5/2013 Email this articlePrint this article 
Sabers force a fifth game, but fall to Western Dubuque

By Ross Eberhart
Sports editor

The venue was different and so was the victor, but just about everything else stayed the same from last year when the Central volleyball team hit the road for a WaMaC East battle with Western Dubuque, Tuesday night.

Playing on their home court last fall, the Sabers watched as the visiting Bobcats made themselves right at home with an opening set victory.

Central, though, answered back with two-straight wins to put Western Dubuque on the brink. The Bobcats responded by forcing a deciding fifth game before the Sabers finally earned the victory.

Tuesday's match followed the exact same script.

This time it was the visiting Sabers who opened things with a bang as they cruised to a 25-18 win in game one.

The Bobcats, though, regrouped and won game two and then routed Central in game three to seemingly take control of the match.

Instead, the Sabers responded to the adversity and took game four to create a deciding fifth set to 15 points.

Unfortunately for the visitors, that final game went to Western Dubuque, who successfully held off the Sabers for an 18-25, 25-16, 25-11, 18-25, 15-11 victory.

"We always have a great battle with Western Dubuque and this year was no different," Central head coach Peggy Kuehn said. "We started off strong. However, missed serves really set us back the rest of the night."

The Sabers' troubles behind the service stripe - they successfully hit just 60-of-84 attempts - meant free points for the Bobcats, who were more than happy to claim them.

Ominously, the first point of the entire match came on a Central serve hit long, but that proved to be one of the few things that went wrong for the Sabers early in game one.

Central immediately followed the service error with a kill by Ellie Ladehoff and the Sabers followed with two more points - one an Abby Grau ace, the other a Bobcat violation - to open a 3-1 lead.

Western Dubuque earned a side-out, but then put their ensuing serve into the net. Ladehoff came right back with another kill and then served up two-straight aces, and suddenly it was 7-2.

The Bobcats ended the surge, but only for a moment as Central reeled off six-straight points (Mackenzie Kuehn, Amanda Brainerd and Katie Irwin all had kills during the run, while Olivia Haack added an ace) to push its lead to 10.

The Saber advantage eventually got as high as 13 (20-7) before the Bobcats began to slowly chip away at their deficit.

Western Dubuque put together three different runs at the end of the game, but it was still not enough to threaten the Sabers, who took game one 25-18.

The Bobcats' late revival in game one, though, carried over into the next set and the hosts scored the first seven points of game two.

Now it was the Sabers' turn to climb out of an early hole and they tried to do it right away, answering the Bobcats' run by scoring seven of the next nine points.

Irwin had a pair of kills during the push with Brainerd adding one of her own. The other four points were self-inflicted by Western Dubuque, who misfired on two attack attempts and were called for two violations.

The Bobcats, though, did not allow the Sabers to completely close the gap. The end of Central's run made it 9-7 and Western Dubuque quickly rolled off three-straight points to push its lead back to five.

That was the start of an 11-4 Bobcat run that gave the home team control of game two.

The Sabers made one final push - Irwin hit a kill, Ladehoff served up another ace and Western Dubuque was called for a violation - to pull within six, but they got no closer as the Bobcats knotted things up with a 25-16 win.

Another quick Western Dubuque start put the Sabers behind the eight ball again in game three.

The Bobcats scored 11 of the set's first 13 points and the hosts' lead never dipped below eight as Western Dubuque took control of the match with a 25-11 win.

Central, though, recovered from the tough loss and broke open a tight game four to extend the match to one more set.

The two teams split the first 18 points of the fourth game, but only because of the Sabers' serving woes which accounted for five of the Bobcats' points.

The Sabers, though, took control of the match with an 11-4 run that turned the 9-9 tie into a 20-13 Central lead.

Irwin and Brainerd both had two kills during the run with Ladehoff adding another point on her fourth ace of the match.

Three-straight Bobcat points kept Central from running away with the victory, but kills by Irwin and Olivia Haack coupled with three Western Dubuque errors allowed the Sabers to wrap up a 25-18 win.

The momentum stayed on Central's side when the Bobcats' first kill attempt of the fifth and final game went wide, but then switched right back to the home team after a Saber violation.

It was the first of five-straight miscues (the Sabers hit three different attack attempts longs and were called for another violation), which gave the Bobcats a 5-1 advantage and forced a Central timeout.

The Sabers spent the remainder of the match trying to trim the deficit. They got as close as three on a kill by Irwin, but the very next point went to Western Dubuque and it proved to be the deciding 15th, giving the Bobcats the victory.

"The girls showed great composure and resilience, and worked hard to earn the win in game four," Kuehn said. "Things just didn't go our way in game five."

Irwin paced the Sabers with 17 kills, while also notching a team-high six digs and collecting two blocks. Haack added seven kills and a pair of aces, while Brainerd and Ladehoff both had six kills and joined Irwin with two blocks apiece.

Ladehoff had four aces as well, while Kuehn assisted on 39 Saber kills. Stephanie Schrader had four digs in the match with Abbey Grau adding three.




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